RHENZ Abando won't deny that he feels the pressure to deliver in his first year at Letran.
Much hyped upon his arrival from University of Santo Tomas, the 6-foot-2 winger from Santo Tomas, La Union understood the heavy weight he had to bear all the more with the Knights eyeing back-to-back championships.
"Noong una talaga, sobrang pressured ako. Sobrang pressured ako sa mga tune-up [games] na ang sama ng ginagawa ko," he lamented.
It could have been the nerves or him still adjusting to his new home, but Abando wasn't shy on sharing the struggles that he found himself in.
Luckily, Abando has found a calming presence in coach Bonnie Tan who urged him to just let the game come to him.
"Noong kinausap ako ni coach Bonnie, sabi 'wag ako ma-pressure at maglaro lang. Sabi niya sa akin, di niya ako hinahanapan ng score basta dumepensa lang at gumawa ng tama," he said. "Masaya naman ako kasi nabawasan yung pressure."
Abando lives up to hype
It was exactly the talk that Abando needed as he lived up to everyone's expectations in his first two games for Letran in NCAA Season 97, posting 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 2.0 assists.
In Letran's methodical 96-67 victory over Arellano on Tuesday, he took a backseat to his peers and collected 11 points, seven boards, two blocks, and one dime in the team's second win.
"Tama nga si coach. Kailangan ko lang din gumawa ng tama at yung score, darating sa akin," said Abando, grateful for the confidence that Tan has given him.
"Grabe lang din ang tiwala na binibigay ni coach kaya di ako nagda-doubt tumira. Iba ang tiwala ni coach na kahit may mga bad shots ako, di naman niya ako pinapagalitan. Thankful ako na grabe yung kumpyansa na binibigay sa akin."
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